Early Access Preview: Dragon of Legends

Dragon of Legends is a 2D action RPG, set in the mythical Viking inspired world called Manheimr. Inspired by some of the greatest works of Norse and Celtic literature, the game invites you to unravel the mystery surrounding Ragnarok and send Loki’s horde back to hell, in beautifully imagined environments.

As of the current build of the game, there are three playable classes to choose from. Ranger, Warrior and Wizard. Each has their own background, and it’s quite interesting to read how they differ from one another. Dragon of Legends allows you to create up to five characters and delete them at your will. It gives you wiggle room to experiment with all three classes if you can’t decide on just one.

I created two characters to play around with, a Warrior and an Archer. I prefer melee combat to ranged, the thrill of getting up close and personal with things that can kill you, never gets old. No matter which class you choose, the game gives you free rein to build your character. Levelling up earns you points, which can be spent on character traits, strength or dexterity for example, or on skills. Skills in the game are separated into ‘Expertise’ and ‘Aptitude’.

Expertise, are skills you can use in combat, bound to hotkeys like the spacebar, left mouse button, and so on. Aptitude doubles as passive skills, giving you choices such as having a higher damage per hit, or a stronger defense.

The game combat needs more work before it can be enjoyable. Despite having a plethora of skills, there is a fair bit of levelling up to do before you can use them. With just basic attacks, fighting enemies gave me too much grief. If you spent all your points on attack and not defense, you’d die ridiculously quickly. Wolves and boars make quick work of you no matter which class you play. It’s a torturous cycle. You need to kill enemies to level up, but you’d usually die before you can kill them.

Something that comes with the territory of being an early access game, is the bugs. Dragon of Legends has some forgivable ones, but there are a few that really kill the experience. The first was starting up the game and being unable to select my character no matter how much I clicked. Closing the window and starting it again usually solves this.

The second most annoying bug was having a quest reset after I died. I’m not sure if this is a bug, but it certainly feels like one. There’s no merit to having a quest reset each time your character gets sent to Valhalla. For example, I need to kill five boars and five wolves. But it reverts to zero after dying. I don’t mind grinding in games, but I just feel cheated if it’s implemented like this.

The game has a lot of potential in its story and setting. The pixel art graphics is eye-catching and unique. Dragon of Legends offers some substantial content, but improvements need to be made before I can heartily recommend this game.

Rise of Industry Out in Early Access

From the publishers of the Tropico series, Rise of Industry is currently out on Steam Early Access. Travel back to the early 20th as an industrialist in a beautiful, procedurally generated world. What drew me to the tycoon experience was the unique design. The simplistic color palette and modelling truly personify a 20th-century world.

Rise of Industry Early Access Trailer

RISE OF INDUSTRY IS A STRATEGIC TYCOON GAME THAT PUTS YOU IN THE SHOES OF AN EARLY 20TH-CENTURY INDUSTRIALIST.

As a budding entrepreneur, you will build factories, construct efficient transport lines, move raw materials, produce finished goods, and arrange trade with the world’s developing cities, providing them with the resources they need to flourish – for as they grow and prosper, so do you.

Designed with an eye towards both accessibility and depth, Rise of Industry has enough strategic complexity and replayability to satisfy the most experienced fans of the genre, while its simple-to-understand mechanics ensure that new players will love it as well.

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We’re looking forward to more of this simplistic, 20th-century business world. Check out the game here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/671440/Rise_of_Industry/

Endless Playability – Dead Cells Early Access Review

Dead Cells is the kind of game that baits you into hour long marathons. You dip your toes in to test the waters and end up free falling. Sessions end with a pounding head and bloodshot eyes, but your regret is tempered with unwavering satisfaction. You promise yourself this won’t happen tomorrow, but when night comes around, you find yourself in the same chair, the same game, with the same results. I consider this a litmus test, where your enjoyment results in something tangible.

Dead Cells considers itself an illegitimate child of a Metroidvania and Rougelite – a RogueVania. The world it tosses players into is ever-changing, each run guaranteed a unique experience due to a non-linear progression system. Endless replayability wrapped up in a merciless, electrifying package. There’s never a dull moment as you explore the labyrinthine corridors of each level. For every platform you scale, a surprise awaits, be it a reward or an enemy, exploration is exhilarating because you never know what’s around the bend.

The world of Dead Cells is vibrant and lively. Each level has its own ecosystem, and while some enemies are constants, there’s always a newer and stronger enemy to contend with. Dying is inevitable, but every death pushes your progress forward even by a single centimeter. This isn’t the kind of game you can brute force your way through. Practice makes perfect, and the road to victory is a slow, steady one. An insurmountable obstacle today becomes a cakewalk tomorrow.

Collecting ‘Cells’ from enemies allows you to upgrade your character’s abilities and equipment in the rest area between each level. You lose the cells if you die half-way, so think carefully before diving into the fray with swords swinging. It’s a gamble on the chance to earn more or potentially losing everything.

Non-permanent upgrades arrive in the form of ‘Scrolls’, allowing you to customize a preferred build for your character. Want to be a glass cannon? Go for it. What’s that you say? The best offense is a good defense? Sure, whatever floats your boat. The headless character you control is but clay, waiting to be moulded into your ideal.

Your character lacks the ability to speak, but its personality shines through its reactions to various NPCs and events. Overzealous head nods, shoulder shrugs, I find it amazing how much it conveys despite not saying a word. I never missed a thing, because the gorgeous pixel art makes it near impossible to look away. Dead Cells oozes style and beauty, the amount of detail put into the sprites, background and objects, is staggering. Projectiles exploding in solid, pink spheres, the shower of sparks on the tail end of a chain lifting a wooden platform. Early Access isn’t something I’d associate with this game.

Other than the art, combat is easily the best thing about Dead Cells. Combat feels buttery smooth, an intricate dance instead of messy, clumsy blows. The pool of weapons you can choose from is varied; from swords to whips to bows. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of them, experimentation is key in finding a favourite weapon to eviscerate an enemy. I stuck to the traditional sword and shield as I have an unfortunate preference for rubbing elbows with things that bite back, and a shield is handy for times where I’d miss a target and stare down at a nocked arrow.

Players can also arm themselves with gadgets for extra firepower. They are especially useful during boss fights, the bear traps and grenades come in handy when faced with an enemy twice your size.

I’m reminded, very rudely, of the fact that Dead Cells is still a work in progress, when I’m interrupted by an error message. I don’t mind it too much since it’s nothing ctrl-alt-del can’t fix, but it chips at my enjoyment when I’m half-way through a really, good run and have to restart. These incidents are rare, I’ve come across only two so far, but it can be a tipping point for fussy gamers.

If you can handle the occasional bug, I’d heartily recommend Dead Cells. It is a challenging, mesmerizing experience that will have you craving more after the first taste.

Dungeon Rustlers – The Revival of Old-School Dungeon Crawlers

Remember the pleasure of the old-school 8-bit games you would attempt to master at the arcade after school. The enjoyment, yet simplicity, of slaying the visible pixels that stand before you. Dungeon Rustlers brings that nostalgia out of the arcade and into our homes. Choose between a Knight, Archer, or Mage to take on 50 levels, and the 7 unique and challenging enemies of this retro epic of a dungeon crawler. Dungeon Rustlers challenges worthy players to hack-and-slash through waves upon waves of tenacious enemies. Although you can only begin your anticipated adventure on PC, it does offer full controller compatibility for those console players who are willing to attempt the vigorous task of reaching the 50th level.

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I felt a strong attachment to this game the second I began my adventure in level one. As an avid player in games like Realm of the Mad God and Gauntlet,  I feel as if much of the world is missing out on these old-school adventure games. It’s not hard to see that the retro-90’s genre is fading away, and with new generations being exposed to the higher class games of today, pixelated dungeon crawlers could be pushed toward extinction. Luckily, companies like Zimventures brought us Dungeon Rustlers.

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Before you begin the climb to victory, you must first choose one of three classes. The bold and ruthless knight can unsheathe her mighty sword to make her enemies cower in the face of death. As you progress through the levels your sword acquires the ability to shoot arrows from its blade, causing the slaughter of annoying slimes to be much more satisfying. If you ever find yourself on the brink of death, do not be afraid to activate your force field and flea the scene to regain health.

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The archer, my personal favorite, weaves her frost arrows from her quiver, leaving her enemies frozen and slowed. While the archer is given less health than the knight, she is more than capable of conducting an equal amount of destruction. The Archer’s class ability allows you to heave frozen walls in both the front and back of your player, causing enemies to be halted and slowed where they stand. With her frozen bow in hand, no enemy would dare step in your path.

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The final warrior would be the fire conjuring Mage. Spitting fireballs out of each hand, the Mage can melt any enemy it may come across. If ever in a crisis, the Mage can activate his special ability and summon a ring of fire around him, damaging enemies and keeping them away. While the mage can easily shred through the skeletons roaming in the dungeons, you only need to be hit twice in order to die.

All three classes are capable of upgrading their basic attacks and summoning floating helpers to aid in the adventure. Upgrading basic attacks will increase both the effectiveness of each hit and the number of shots being volleyed out of your weapon. The purchasable helpers will stand by your side and synchronize their attacks with yours, causing two more bullets to be added alongside your barrage of attacks. All of these upgrades can be purchased with gold found within in each level.

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Dungeon Rustlers eases players into the game by providing appropriate increasing increments of difficulty, making each level seem accommodating, but no walk in the park. Around level ten, I did feel as if the upgrades for basic attacks made each level executable with ease. Similar to training in Call of Duty: Zombies, I would find myself dragging enemies behind me, eventually turning around and unleashing the power of my triple shot weapon. All of the enemies would perish, and I would repeat the cycle like clockwork. While many levels seemed like they should have been more difficult, I did find myself on the edge of my seat for a select few. Once you die, you are not brought to the title screen to replay the game right away. Instead, you respawn where you last were, but are missing all of the valuable upgrades and power-ups needed to withstand the forces of the current level. This shouldn’t pose as much of a problem during the early levels, but dying around level 30+ could be fatal. You begin with three lives and once all have dispersed, your journey is over. You can then attempt to climb the levels with a new character or beat your best times on the previous character.

Zimventures based Dungeon Rustlers on racing through levels and clearing them fast. They encourage players to repeat the game to shatter their previous times. After each level, you can view your best time, and where you stand on the compared to other players. I could imagine the replay potential, as well as the appeal to speedrunners in taking on Dungeon Rustlers and smashing the leaderboards.

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The music choice for this game was amazing and fitted the tone to appeal towards old-school players. The mix of an epic dungeon crawler and retro-electro style tunes and beats, made me taste the sweetened luxury of being in a 90’s arcade. I did stumble upon a few glitches that left me dead for no reason, but I do understand that the game is still in early access and is not yet fully patched. I do wish Dungeon Rustlers offered more playable characters and diverse combat styles between them. Dungeon Rustlers’ 50 levels can be purchased for $3.99 on the steam marketplace today.

Enomview Score: 7.2 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/713450/Dungeon_Rustlers/